Robert E. Lee Day

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Robert E. Lee Day
Robert Edward Lee - elder years.jpg
Robert E. Lee in 1870
Also called Lee's Birthday
Observed by
Type State holiday
Significance Confederate General in Chief's birthday
Date Third Monday in January
2017 date January 16  (2017-01-16)
2018 date January 15  (2018-01-15)
2019 date January 21  (2019-01-21)
2020 date January 20  (2020-01-20)
Frequency Annual
Related to

Robert E. Lee Day, also called Lee's Birthday, is a public holiday commemorating the birth of Robert E. Lee, observed each year on the third Monday in January. [1] Because Lee was the General in Chief of the Armies of the Confederacy, it is mainly observed in the U.S. South,[2] particularly in Alabama[3] and Mississippi.[4][5]

Although Lee's actual January 19 birthdate remains a legal holiday in the Florida statute books, by and large it is not observed.[6] In Alabama and Mississippi, it is celebrated together with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Arkansas combined the observance of Robert E. Lee Day with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 1985, after two years of requiring state employees to select between the two holidays or their own birthday as a day off from work.[7] In 2017, it passed a law removing General Lee's name from the January holiday and instead establishing a state memorial day on the second Saturday of October in honor of Lee.[8]

See also


  1. ^ "Tennessee Gubernatorial Proclamation of January 3, 2013" (PDF).
  2. ^ Berkow, Ira (November 10, 1990). "Sports of the Times: Dr. King and the Super Bowl". New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  3. ^ Little, Becky (13 January 2017). "The Controversial History of Martin Luther King Day". National Geographic. Retrieved 16 January 2017. Three states celebrate civil rights leader Martin Luther King and Civil War General Robert E. Lee on the same day.
  4. ^ Holpuch, Amanda (14 January 2017). Written at New York. "Mississippi city faces backlash after calling MLK Day 'Great Americans Day'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 16 January 2017. The incident, however, highlighted an awkward truth about Mississippi’s Martin Luther King Jr Day: that it is also Robert E Lee Day.
  5. ^ "Robert E Lee's Birthday in the United States". Time and Date AS. n.d. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  6. ^ Mettler, Katie (19 January 2016). "Today in Florida, it's Robert E. Lee Day". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 16 January 2017. Government offices do not close down. Children are still in class. Not even the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Tampa do anything special on Jan. 19.
  7. ^ "Arkansas Ends Robert E. Lee-Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday". NBC News. March 22, 2017. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  8. ^ Associated Press (March 17, 2017). "Arkansas lawmakers vote to remove Robert E. Lee from holiday honoring MLK". Politico. Retrieved 19 April 2017.

Further reading

  • Gore, Leada (October 16, 2015). "Georgia Does Away With Confederate Memorial Day, Robert E. Lee Birthday". The Birmingham News. Birmingham, Ala.
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